For several years, many Amherst residents have wanted to move the Williamsville and Lackawanna toll barriers. One of the reasons is they want a toll reduction. The other reason is a buildup of cars. With Governor Andrew Cuomo announcing the entire New York State Thruway will install cashless tolling by the end of 2020, Amherst Supervisor Brian Kulpa said half of their problems are being solved.
“A cashless toll, it moves the vehicle volume. There’s no build up. And half the deterrents is gone,” Kulpa said. “So we expect commuter volume to exit Main Street or not use Main Street as much and instead decide to use the Thruway, which is great and welcome solution to the problem.”
Kulpa said he’d like to see the 15 cent toll between Transit Road and 290 go away, but he’s unsure if that will ever happen.
Kulpa added one thing they are working on with the Greater Buffalo Niagara Transportation Council and New York State DOT is an interchange at Youngs Road.
“Those exits also represent the airport traffic,” he said. “There’s no dedicated airport turnoff. So we’d like to see some of that airport volume, specifically the stuff coming out of Canada or from out of state, hit a more dedicated route.”
Over $350 million has been invested in implementing cashless tolling and removing 52 Thruway interchanges and barriers.
Kulpa said as this grows, it will keep east-west volume out of Amherst and Northern Cheektowaga around places like Genesee Street and Sheridan Drive.
“The state in its infancy with the cashless toll system has had some issues, but this has been in places like Florida for years,” he said. “Those states have outgrown their initial problems.”
Construction for the new tolling equipment will begin later this summer.